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Lexicon of the Malagasy language Madagascar

Breaking down the lexicon of the Malagasy language: Exploring the richness of Malagasy vocabulary

The native language in Madagascar is Malagasy.

Origin of Malagasy Language

The Malagasy language comes from the Austronesian language, spoken by the first people of Madagascar 2400 years ago. It belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian group. About 90% of traditional Malagasy vocabulary is from this language group, while the remaining 10% comes from African and Indonesian languages such as Bantu, Arabo-Swahili, and Sanskrit.

In 1823, an official alphabet composed of 21 Latin letters was established for the Malagasy language. During colonization, many French words were adopted into the Malagasy language due to European influence.

In 1978, a policy called “Malgachisation” was implemented by the presidency, making Malagasy the language of instruction in primary schools. This move aimed to promote and preserve the use of the Malagasy language within educational settings.

Dialects: Exploring Different Regional Forms of a Language

Madagascar has 18 tribes, each with its own language or dialect. Some of these dialects are related and can be grouped into 11 main Malagasy dialects, such as Merina, Bara, Betsimisaraka atsimo, and others. These dialects fall into two categories: the eastern group (led by the Merina dialect) and the western coastal group. The historical circumstances have made the Merina dialect the dominant one in Madagascar. Each tribe may not understand all other tribal languages due to differences in vocabulary and characteristics.

The diversity of Malagasy dialects reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage. The historical significance of the Merina dialect has contributed to its widespread use as a base language across different tribes in Madagascar.

The current language:

The Malagasy language has been influenced by globalization and technology, causing it to lose some of its original characteristics. Young people are more focused on social media and technological development, neglecting the uniqueness of their culture. As a result, the Malagasy language is becoming more modernized and mixed with French in everyday speech. This blending of languages makes it difficult for people to translate certain words into Malagasy and results in the creation of new slang terms and expressions based on Madagascar’s social, economic, or political situations, further diluting the original language.

In recent times, due to globalization and technological advancements, the Malagasy language has undergone significant changes. The younger generation’s growing obsession with social media and technology has led to a loss of the language’s authenticity. This shift is evident in the increasing mixture of Malagasy with French in daily communication—a phenomenon known as “vary amin anana.” Consequently, many individuals struggle to find accurate translations for specific words in Malagasy. Additionally, new slang terms and expressions have emerged as a response to Madagascar’s evolving social, economic, and political landscape, contributing to the erosion of the original language.

Globalization and technological progress have transformed the traditional nature of the Malagasy language. The youth’s prioritization of social media platforms and technological advancements has overshadowed aspects that define their cultural identity. A notable consequence is the fusion of Malagasy with French within conversations—referred to as “vary amin anana”—making it challenging for individuals to accurately interpret certain words in Malagasy. Moreover, contemporary societal events have spawned new jargon and phrases that divert from the authentic roots of this language.

Malagasy Grammar: Simplified Explanation

The Malagasy language is not very difficult to learn. Its grammar rules are easy to remember, and it’s known as an agglutinative language. This means that affixes are added to the base words to show different grammatical relationships. The position of a word in a sentence indicates its grammatical function, and there are no linking words between phrases. Additionally, compound words are formed by putting two words together.

In Malagasy, a typical sentence structure follows this order: Verb / Object / Subject.

Verb Conjugation:

In this language, there are only three verb tenses: present, past, and future. There is no conditional or subjunctive mood. Verbs change their first letter depending on the tense, not the subject. There are no gender or number variations for verbs.

Here’s how the verbs start based on their tenses:
– All present tense verbs begin with the letter “m.”
– Future tense verbs begin with the letter “h.”
– Past tense verbs are preceded by the letter “n.

Example: Simplifying the Subtitle from {Title Source

– I speak
– I spoke, I was speaking
– I will speak, I’m going to speak.

Name and adjective:

In Malagasy language, there are no gender or number distinctions, such as masculine and feminine or verb agreement. Adjectives always go with the verbs.

Vocabulary: Simplifying Language for Easy Understanding

– Important Malagasy vocabulary:
– Useful words in the Malagasy language
– Key vocabulary in the Malagasy language.

The Greeting:

Hello/Hi / How are you? / What’s up?

Politeness: How to Be Polite in Everyday Life

Excuse me/thank you/please (formal and informal).

Money: Understanding Its Importance

– Vola: money
– Lafo: expensive
– Mora: cheaper
– Firy, ohatrinona: how much
– Miady varotra: bargain
– Aloa: pay
– Madinika: coin
– Fameriny: change.

Time: Rewriting in Plain English

– Maraina means morning
– Atoandro is used for day
– Hariva refers to evening
– Alina signifies night
– Omaly translates to yesterday
– Androany, anio, izao are terms for today, now
– Rahampitso stands for tomorrow
– Mangatsiaka represents cold
– Mafana denotes hot
– Masoandro means sun
– Volana means moon.

Subtitle Rephrased: Simplifying information while retaining key points

• “I” means “me”.
• “They” means “you”.
• “We” means “us”.
• “They” means “them.

Subtitle Rephrased: Simplifying the Subtitle of {Title Source

– Aiza: Where
– Firy?: How much
– Rahoviana: When
– Amin ny firy?: At what time.

Common Expressions: Ohabolana or Oha-Pitenenana

Madagascar’s “ohabolana” are expressions and proverbs that showcase the wisdom and spirit of the Malagasy people. These proverbs serve as a means for conveying moral lessons or sharing experiential truths deemed worth remembering. Similarly, the “ohapitenenana” can be likened to a parable or allegorical tale, concealing within it a moral or religious teaching. Both forms of storytelling embody the cultural values and teachings of Madagascar’s Ntaolo Malagasy.

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